The U.S. Census Bureau is currently recruiting to fill thousands of temporary positions, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns job seekers to beware of scams. Scammers post about open census jobs on the web and social media, then ask to be paid fees for applications, training and may request personal information. Federal agencies never charge fees for applications or identification. These scams can be hard to spot and easy to fall for because consumers want to fulfill their civic duty and participate, but with so many impersonators, it is crucial to know how the scams work and how to avoid them.
BBB Shares How the Scam Works:
The Census Bureau, like many organizations, has its fair share of imposters but knowing how the bureau operates can help you be better prepared. They will also not charge you for training or ask you to buy any equipment you may need.
The Census Bureau may request information through the following communication outlets...phone, email, mail, fax and in-person. However, there are only three ways to reply to the census: phone, mail or online. The official website of the bureau is census.gov; the homepage for the 2020 census is 2020census.gov.
Some of the information requested is personal, but the Census Bureau states they will NEVER ask for a full social security number, money, donations, anything on behalf of a political party, full bank or credit account numbers or personally identifiable information.
BBB Tips to Avoid Census Scams:
- If consumers get mail they can check the return address is Jeffersonville, Indiana. If they continue to question the authenticity of the letter or form, potential victims can call the regional office for the state they are located in, to verify the household survey. For business surveys please visit our business help site or contact the National Processing Center to verify the caller is an actual employee.
- If someone visits your residence to complete a survey, check first for a valid U.S. Census Bureau ID badge.
- Never give out your personal information. Census takers will never ask for social security number, bank account number, credit card number, money or donations.
- If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by calling the government agency directly or checking the government agency’s website. Don’t click on any links in an unexpected email. Instead, type the official URL into the browser or do a web search to find the right website or forward the email or website URL to the bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Don’t click, download or open anything that comes from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to personal information or install malware on a computer.
If someone suspects “phishing” or other scams, contact the regional office for individual state’s or the National Processing Center, immediately, for verification and further instructions.
Check BBB Scam Tracker for local reports of imposters in your area.